The EDI Council has partnered with the Associate Dean, Academic (Prof. Rob Kozak) to develop the Forest(Reads) Initiative. Each year we will have a different book that is chosen to spark conversations within the Forestry community on important topics. This year’s book is “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Prof. Robin Wall Kimmerer. Members of the UBC Faculty of Forestry community wishing to participate in Forest(Reads) can visit our Canvas site (available soon). Further general information on this year’s Forest(Reads) is below.
Why This Initiative? Many of you will have read the recent statement by the EDI Council chair on racism (https://forestry.ubc.ca/news/statement-by-the-chair-of-equity-diversity-and-inclusion-council/). As it says, moving forward means listening, learning and, most importantly, acting on racism. There have been a number of much-needed conversations about actions that the Faculty can take and the Council plans on engaging in consultations to move these conversations and needed change forward. This is one such action. The goal of this particular initiative is to provide students, faculty and staff an opportunity to engage in shared learning regarding complex and difficult issues facing the fields of forestry and conservation. We will do this by encouraging everyone within the faculty to read the same book and encouraging all faculty to incorporate portions of the book into courses that they are teaching. As this program evolves, we will introduce more focused readings on race and racism.
This year’s Forest(Reads) initiative will focus around the book “Braiding Sweetgrass” by Robin Wall Kimmerer. More about Professor Kimmerer and her book can be found here: (https://milkweed.org/author/robin-wall-kimmerer and https://www.esf.edu/faculty/kimmerer/).
Why this Book? Professor Kimmerer is a moss ecologist and ethnobotanist. “Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Wisdom, Scientific Knowledge and the Teaching of Plants” is a widely hailed book for bringing together the science of botany with traditional ecological knowledge. While this book is not explicitly about racism, the material is germane to many of our courses, and it brings an important perspective and context for overall education in our Faculty. The book is freely available at the UBC Library (permalink: http://tinyurl.com/ycrpu47n).
What Will The Initiative Look Like? Several undergraduate courses within our Faculty have incorporated aspects of Braiding Sweetgrass into their course curriculum. Even if you are not a part of a course that is incorporating the book, all students, staff, and faculty are welcome and encouraged to read the book this academic year and participate in any associated activities. We will be using Canvas to host discussions on the book and three virtual book club events to allow broader participation and interaction for those interested. In conjunction with the Xwi7xwa and Woodward Science Libraries, we will be hosting two talks with Braiding Sweetgrass author Prof. Robin Wall Kimmerer in November and March. Please stay tuned for more details about these events.
For more information about Forest(Reads) you can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org